Hi Martin! Your art usually combines coding, traditional techniques, and a special attention to clouds and what they can signify. Would you share some insights on your creative process with us, accompanying us to the discovery of one of your works?
The foundation of my work lies in continuous practice. I make an effort to work on my art regardless of where I am every day and maintain sketch- and concept books. In my concept books, I develop new ideas for artworks and algorithms in a structured process. As an example, how could I explore a particular topic visually? In contrast, my sketchbooks serve as a casual playground; I practice drawing and experiment spontaneously. Each book seems to address one half of the brain, so maintaining a balance is vital to stay engaged over the years. Matisse said something along the lines that inspiration only finds you working, and I notice that daily practice makes me much more receptive.
Daily practice is essential for the development of my work.
Most of the concepts I develop from the idea stage further align with my current body of work of promoting and educating about Blockchain technology. I believe that blockchain will change our world far beyond its currency aspects and that a basic understanding becomes critical for inclusion. Imagine an art exhibition that takes people by the hand, guides them through the maze of buzzwords and technical complexity and leaves them empowered to learn more; that's what I am working towards. Last year, I held a solo exhibition with the first batch of mostly physical artworks. I learned a lot in conversations with visitors, which pointed me in several directions on where to elaborate to make the story more understandable.
Transaction Sender & Transaction Recipient (diptych)
Acrylics and woven, hand- and laser-cut paper
Most of the pieces I create can take weeks, months, some even years. So, software became crucial in visualizing my concepts before I start these lengthy creations. Using graphic design software for more than 20 years, it comes easily to me to build mockups and validate ideas. A few years ago, these digital concepts were relatively detailed and elaborate, but I began working much more iteratively over time. Often this results in additional studies, happy accidents and new directions.
It was only in spring 2018 when I started exploring generative art, encouraged by joining the platforms SuperRare and KnownOrigin. While I do not consider myself a coder, my self-taught base of web-based programming helps me to tackle increasingly challenging projects. A process that works well for me is breaking overall algorithms into small manageable pieces and building it up. Let's take my recent animated artwork, "Ephemeral Thoughts on Digital Wallets," as an example. In this piece, I went through dozens of iterations, tweaking the algorithm continuously towards the initial concept for several weeks or even months.
Iterations towards the animation Ephemeral Thoughts on Digital Wallets
My released artworks are sometimes several steps further than the initial idea. The moment I find myself in the final stretch of solving an issue or completing an algorithm, I am already focused on the next iterations, which usually add more complexity. If I find a way to communicate an idea better, I can become pretty stubborn and not afraid of hard nuts to crack. This approach extends the creation process and allows me to learn and grow with every artwork.
Developing most pieces iteratively, I keep working on several pieces at the same time. For some of these artworks, it can take a long time to gather the necessary material, i.e. aerial videos. I am working on several pieces for which I already recorded cloud videos on passenger flights over two or more years. Others keep evolving, such as my woven and cut-out pieces. This series started as painted artworks back in high school in 2002. With my new animation experience, I aim to digitize and enhance some of them later this year.
For the Kitty Bungalow #BuyArtSaveKittens charity event, the team at Async combined forces with 34 artists in one of the biggest art collaborations to create three Async artworks to auction off for charity. Each Kitty-themed masterpiece is custom-made with special features to showcase the power of programmable art.
Cats featured in “Pixel Story” are able to emote and communicate with each other with certain combinations of emotes triggering special effects within the whole canvas. Check out the mini comic to get an idea of the abilities.
Artists included in this collaboration piece includes: Pxlpet, Sparrow, Breadbreaker22, MLIBTY, PX99, Metagiest, TS Moreau, DinziBR, and Cryptokitties team. This is Async and Dapper Lab’s first partnership and collaboration. The Cryptokitties team created Pepito the Mascot Layer, which was bundled with an actual Special Edition Cryptokitty. The Master went for 6.66 ETH, and the total with all Layers included was 15.51 ETH.
“Big Trouble in Mao Mao City '' has cats that show off fighting moves as well as a variety of state changes. To check out all the possible combinations, try out one of our community member’s tool to preview Layer changes.
The artists involved in the street fight include: Alotta Money, Carlos Marcial, Vulon, Plouzza, Hidden Forces, Shortcut, BrucetheGoose, CryptotheGiant, Fabiello and TS Moreau. There was an epic bidding war over the “Shaolin Sphynx” Layer, spanning over the course of several days and the final winner turned out to be SwiftEagle at 3.2 ETH. The Master went for 10.1 ETH and with all Layers included it was 19.55 ETH.
And finally “Forgotten Cats of Fallen Leaves Forest” tugs at your heartstrings as kitties fade in and out of your memories depending on how often you come back to update them. This one has the largest amount of artists participating, 15 unique artists which include:Hackatao, Max Osiris, Ilan Katin, Serste, Primal Cypher, Matt Kane, Trippyogi, Reinhard, Daveed, Rutger van der Tas, Fabin Rasheed, Reviiser, Moxarra, Julia K. Ponsford, & Ruben Alexander.
The Master’s secret reserve price was triggered by Metavereum, and was instantly sold on Thursday for 10.1 ETH. Collectively this piece sold for a total of 17.06 ETH.
The auctions lasted for about a week with all three artworks as well as 27 unique Layers sold. Collectively Async artists raised over $10,000 for the feral cat shelter - an amazing feat in itself! The Async team is extremely happy that so many artists have donated their time and art to help cats in need and grateful for this opportunity to participate in this fantastic virtual event.
Hi Coldie! Can you tell us how did the whole project start?
I have been donating physical art to the Kitty Bungalow art show for the last few years. Last year, I brought in CryptoKitties and Crypto Kaiju who donated artworks. Following the success of these pieces in last year’s show, I was approached by KB about the virtual worlds I was creating. We decided to do an experiment and see how the charity would translate to a digital setting. From there we did an open call for entries, I curated a show including 40+ art pieces and VOX sculptures that took place in 4 parcels in CryptoVoxels.
In addition to the NFT digital art, we also had a physical art gallery. What blew us away was that we sold more than $2,000 in physical art as well! It was also the first introduction to several famous artists of the crypto art scene. I can tell you that a few of them are looking at getting into NFTs!
What was the scale of the event in terms of artists and other actors involved?
We had over 75 artists and builders contribute to the show. This includes Async who had 33 contributors in their 3 pieces they created specially for the event. I also had many builders contribute piece to the show include megavox sculptures that were auctioned as well. I tried to sell everything I could in the build. Might as well make as much as possible!
Any favorite contributions on the artistic side?
One of my favorite pieces was Matt Kane’s Excessive Force - Cat Devouring Bird after Picasso. This piece is not the usual for Matt in terms of subject matter, and seeing a different side to his art was really thrilling. Others agreed and there was a pretty good bid war going and it ended up selling for for 8.5 ETH (over $2,000) to Tennessee Jed. Take a look and get lost in the animation layers. Subtle, but SO TASTY!
I was blown away by the Async collaboration pieces. 3 distinct pieces that were very well thought out and all very successful turnouts! Big thanks to their whole time for all they did. You could tell there was a lot of love coming from them to help cats and it showed in the end result.
CryptoKitties contributed 3 very rare kitties, as well as kitties for a scavenger hunt. They also contributed to one of the Async pieces. Their team was so generous and always willing to help promote and do whatever they could to be sure our event went off as well as possible. I their kindness and professionalism, mixed with creativity and care was amazing to collaborate with!
So, how did the event go in terms of support, are you satisfied with how it all went, was it challenging?
Overall, there were no issues, somehow! So many people stepped up and dontated their time and skills to make this event really shine and be as successful as it was.
It was a challenge to get in the ear of crypto collectors and other who might be interested in the show. I was blown away at how many people showed up and also the diversity of collectors.
I know that Nala cat was involved too, did this help stir the interest of more people beyond the crypto art scene?
Yes, Nala is a literal cat celebrity and with her she brings a very passionate fanbase. We had Nala do her first Twitch Livestream which went well and many of her fans joined in, which is probably the first time many of them experienced a crypto art show or virtual live event. We really appreciate the support of Nala’s team to allow us to have her be so much of a piece of the show. We had a beautiful sculpture of Nala created by Ogar which was auctioned.
Looking back on the whole event, I am so proud of how it turned out. To date, Kitty Bungalow has received over $15,000 in donations from this event. It far exceeds what any of us were dreaming of. The best part about it is that they always need more money to help feral cats in need in the Los Angeles area, so the extra money will always go to a good use.
Having a second event at the Citadel Art Center is also really fun and rewarding. It is interesting taking down an exhibition and putting up a new one. It keeps the vibes fresh, the art new, and I look forward to putting on the next show there. To everyone who collaborated, created, donated, and enjoyed the show, THANK YOU. It was only possible because of everyone! I love this community and we now have a wider network including Kitty Bungalow who love crypto events and will continue to be friends with us as this whole space continues to grow and evolve.
“Thato’s extraordinary works have been charming since the first day I came across the crypto art scene”
P: How do you define yourself in the crypto art scene?
T: I’m describing my experience of interfacing with ideologies and theories through minimalism and complexity.
P: Your creations have a sublime geometric balance. What do you call it?
T: I use balance to convey and evoke emotions, it gives order and serves as the narrator. I don’t have a name for it yet.
P: Patterns in your work are impossible to unsee, what about the process behind them?
T: The Turing patterns are based on the Gray-Scott model which can be simulated in Photoshop, Blender, C4D, Houdini, Max/msp, Rhino and many other programs. I’m currently exploring the patterns in Touchdesigner.
P: As a crypto artist with a design background, where do you see yourself fit in more, as “designer” or “artist”?
T: A bit of both, design often demands self-control while art gives more freedom. I use self-control to explore artistic freedom.
P: The simplicity and pureness of your work makes me wonder what it is like where you live. How is your real-world experience compared to your creations?
T: Johannesburg is beautiful, chaotic, noisy and wild. Art is my refuge, I can create order when I’ve lost control and complexity when things get too quiet.
Lawrence Lee, acclaimed Contemporary Southwestern artist, and Bård Ionson, coder with a keen eye and an artistic bent, have begun a fascinating journey of collaboration that melds paintings with modern artificial intelligence technology.
Lee’s “magic people” inhabit a separate reality that seems to be of another world--a multidimensional one. By combining one of the original human creative outlets, painting, and advanced math with new technologies, a multitude of mages, seers, shamans and sages has been born.
This is a creation built on a lifetime of Lee’s creations at the easel. Bård used over 250 Lee paintings to train a machine learning / artificial intelligence system and used his own creative skills to perfect the output of the software and to curate results. Lee then worked to identify the best of the generated images and used his digital painting skills and immense creativity to improve on what Bård produced. With each iteration, new possibilities were revealed, and the pair are excited by the prospect of further development, incorporating new technologies as they become available and following the lead of some of the images produced thus far into new, previously unimagined areas.
Bård is now taking the improved results to teach the AI model all over again.
Art will be sold on SuperRare. Please find these Shaman works we call Convergence on SuperRare on the profiles of Lawrence Lee and Bård Ionson
The goal was to expand the creative palette like a hallucinatory dream. Controlled by Bård with training selections, the AI produced a googleplex of possible random outcomes. Lawrence and Bård have hand-selected the best of each production run from the machine, and Lawrence has worked to unearth these new shamans and the landscapes they inhabit by enhancing them further and augmenting their otherworldly qualities in an attempt to better understand their roots and to release their powers.
Ionson and Lee will be releasing the series of images created, called Convergence, as weekly package drops of three still images and one video on SuperRare. Find them starting on June 23.
Convergence Ab The Bård artificial intelligence version | Convergence Ab - After Lawrence Lee turns it into art.
Lawrence is one of the small number of fine artists in the space of tokenized art because he is always looking for ways to expand and learn new things. He has been a professional artist for over 40 years. He is one of the original adopters of non-fungible tokens on SuperRare for his digital art. In addition he has created computer art from early in the personal computer age.
Bård Ionson is an artist who is relative to Lawrence, a beginner with art but has spent a career working with computers and programming. He is now creating digital art and video art using oscilloscopes, scanners and artificial intelligence technologies.
KnownOrigin gallery closed 2019 with over 2,000 digital art editions on the platform and a 3262% monthly sales growth since October 2018. Regarding income, in 2019 top artists were XCOPY, Hackatao, Giant Swan, Alotta Money, Tom Badley and Rare Designer.
Difelice5000, XCOPY and Gary Cartlidge led the market as for number of sales, while Giant Swan and Rare Designer could also boast the record sale price of 10 ETH for the art pieces Purgatory and BLOCKCHAIN EDEN respectively.
Overall, nearly 7,000 artworks were sold on KnownOrigin up to the end of 2019, with a significant increase in the gallery revenue in December. Artists and collectors were over 180 and both the community and the market keep growing.
As a platform mostly devoted to multi-editions, single-edition art pieces have been less than 20% of all works displayed. The average sale price in 2019 was about 0.2ETH, with the highest being 10 ETH (about $1,450 at the time of sale).
Over the past year and a half, MakersPlace team has been contacted by close to 5,000 artists wishing to join the network, and the team is now working with over 1,500 creatives. MakersPlace also has a vibrant online community, counting close to 2,000 people between artists and collectors on its Discord channel, and over 30,000 followers of the team's social media accounts.
In 2019, the average sale price of artworks on the platform was about $150, with the market thriving towards the end of the year. On 15th December EthGirl, a collaboration between SuperRare artists Trevor Jones and Alotta Money, was bought by collector Moderats for 72.1 ETH ($10,027 at the time of sale), breaking the all-time ETH sale record for the digital market.
SuperRare has a varied community of artists and collectors from 154 countries and receives about 25 artist applications per week, maintaining a 10% acceptance rate.
Cryptovoxels had just completed minting and auctioning the final land parcels for Origin City. Since April 2018, lead developer Ben Nolan has been minting and selling a handful of parcels on Opensea every week or so, following no particular city layout design order while using procedural generation. The sales have generated enough revenue for Ben to self-fund the entire project to where he now has a small developer team helping him.
Cryptovoxels has also recently passed a million dollar marketcap, a milestone that's reminscent of geocities and the million dollar homepage. Congrats to the Cryptovoxels team and community for achieving this landmark!
Did you know there are multiple other programs to view Origin City with? One of the earliest examples is Substrata developed by Nick from Glare technologies. Nick, whom is close friends with Ben Nolan in real life, designed Substrata as a multi-user cyberspace written in C++. It can render the entire Cryptovoxels city on a machine with atleast 32gb of RAM.
There's also NeosVR, a free to download Metaverse engine that many describe as "multiplayer Unity" because of how people build and script worlds from inside the program instead of uploading content with a SDK. NeosVR is more complicated to use than VRChat and the desktop experience isn't fully realized yet, but the graphics are next level since the rendering engine is using the newer Unity 2019 and you can edit worlds live inside the client. To visit, download NeosVR from Steam and then search "Origin City" in the worlds menu or click this link to launch the world directly: http://cloudx.azurewebsites.net/open/world/U-jin/R-fec6fe2f-d6e9-43de-af37-31068a7ebcd9
AsyncArt, launched online in February 2020, innovates the NFT realm allowing creative people to showcase and trade programmable art. The first piece of such art ever tokenized on the platform is First Supper, a digital homage to Leonardo Da Vinci's Cenacolo.
First Supper, with 22 Layers, is the result of a collaboration between 13 major artists: Alotta Money, Blackboxdotart, Coldie, Connie Digital, Hackatao, Josie Bellini, Matt Kane, Mlibty, Rutger van der Tas, Shortcut, TwistedVacancy, VansDesign, and XCOPY. Auctioned on February 28th, the Master image was sold to MetaKovan for 103.4 ETH (14.037,58 USD). Among its Layers, purchased by different collectors shortly afterward, very successful were Coldie's Decentral Eyes, sold for 77.0 ETH (10.490,48 USD), and Visionary Spirit of Creation by Matt Kane, sold for 35.0 ETH (4.763,50 USD). A total of 263 ETH was made from the auction of 20 Layers.
The second programmable NFT auctioned on AsyncArt was XCOPY's Banksta. It was sold to the collector TokenAngels for 66.0 ETH (8.958,84 USD), becoming the most expensive work by a single artist to date. Its Master image sold for more than all its Layers combined, testifying how this particular art piece works better as a whole than others.
The Somnium Space team has a long history of working with other projects in the space to be more cross-compatible. Somnium Space has been a founding member of VR Blockchain Alliance, a working group aimed at numerous initiatives about interoperability, such as the transfer of digital assets across the metaverse.
Somnium Space designed a teleportation system that can transport a player between points in the world but also to *other* social VR platforms. This is quite a rarity to see in gaming since platforms tend to lock-in players from ever leaving. The transportation system established between Somnium Space, JanusVR, and High Fidelity is a great achievement to connect avatars into a more seamless Metaverse. See it in action between two native platforms below.
The Somnium Space team has been integrating third party NFTs like Cryptokitties in next level ways. For example, check out this Cryptokitty being imported into the builder then playing in VR.
The day before the big launch, Somnium Space and Cryptomotors showed off the results of an amazing collaboration. A limited run of the model Abyssus were auctioned on Opensea, with some being bought for 16 ETH ($2100 USD at the time).
Hi Conlan, what an incredible start for Async, you had a great response from collectors. So tell us, when did you come up with the idea and why?
Thank you so much. It's definitely been amazing reception so far. The concept behind Async Art came to me around November of 2019. I've been already involved with collecting Cryptoart and the Cryptovoxel community, so most of my day time musings were in that headspace already.
I think I was tying my shoelaces when the idea hit me. Create art that can be changed and different parts of it tokenized for different uses!
What is your background and who are the team members of Async?
I'm a game developer by trade. In my spare time I've built automation tools and Twitter bots for startups to gain a deeper understanding for their projects and in November have quit my day job to focus 100% on Async.
We have a small but passionate team. I met fellow co-founder Nate (n0shot) in Cryptovoxels and we became fast friends. He's been crucial in building our visual brand and overall creative vision for the platform.
Jeff and I met a while back while working on the first version of http://uniswap.info/ and he's done the frontend development for the website you see today.
Lisa leads all of our marketing including event setup, online communications and content creation.
How did you choose the first artists to get on board?
In my mind a new platform needs the right set of artists who can push the boundaries, are technically oriented, and have great community presence to educate our audience on this brand new concept.
I've collected art from and/or leased Cryptovoxels gallery space to all of the first group of artists before Async so I already had great relationships with them. It felt like asking friends to come together for a fun collaboration and in its essence, it really was. There is no Async Art without the artists.
We know that many artists want to join your platform now. What do they need to start collaborating with you?
First and foremost, they need to fill out an application form. This helps us keep track and also to check out their style of art. The most important question is probably "Your Idea for Async", in which we see what new concept they would want to explore with the platform. It's not about who has the most followers or have made the most sales, it is about pushing the boundaries and bringing something completely new to the Cryptoart landscape. Due to high demand and the manual nature of setting up an Async piece, we are onboarding artists in small batches. Eventually though, we aim to onboard everyone who wants to join.
Do you have any suggestions for new creatives in the crypto art realm in general?
Art on the blockchain is such a new and developing concept. The world is your oyster here. If you can think it, you should spend 100% of your available time exploring it.
Social media (especially Cent!) is your best friend here. Cryptoart community is open and welcoming so networking is important and will pay off.
You innovated the art scene enabling the creation of unprecedented artworks, as well as a new form of fractionated ownership. It is already a lot, but do you have new projects in store?
Oh tons! There's not enough hours in a day. However my main focus right now is in developing Async Art to its full potential, there are several new features and initiatives on the horizon and our team is excited to reveal more in the coming months.
Hi GoWest, it's a pleasure to interview one of the first NFT collectors, and arguably the most famous CryptoPunk collector ever.
I don’t know about that! There are some collections out there that are way more valuable than mine, but I think a lot of the old school CryptoPunk collectors like to keep a low profile.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I live in Canada, and currently trade stocks and crypto full time. When not isolated in my home due to deadly viruses, I enjoy working out and golfing!
How did you get interested in NFTs and what NFT was the first one you got? Do you remember it? Is it still meaningful to you?
I first came across NFTs when CryptoKitties launched in November 2017. I was lucky enough to be aware of the project while it was still in beta testing, so when it went public, I snatched up a founder cat which I was able to flip for quite a profit, a few days later. I was the first person to ever buy a founder and that was my first NFT! It will always hold a special place in my heart, even if it’s no longer in my possession.
Talking about CryptoPunks, how many of them have you collected and traded so far? Why did you got so fascinated by them and why do you find them a valuable asset to have in your collection?
I have well over 100 CryptoPunks and I’ve only ever sold one or two. I totally missed the boat in June 2017 when they were given away for free, but after getting back into NFTs in the fall of 2018, I quickly became interested in them for their collectible value. CryptoPunks were the first Ethereum-based NFT, so from that perspective, I believe they should be a part of any serious NFT collection.
At the moment you own three very special Punks, and you had to invest a lot to buy them. Can you explain to those unfamiliar with CPs why you collected them and what makes each of them so particular?
Sure! #8348 is the only CryptoPunk with seven traits, and he just looks bad-ass! He is by far my favourite CryptoPunk and I was thrilled when he came up for sale.
#5314 is an ape, which is one of three types of special CryptoPunks (aliens, apes, and zombies). That was a bit of an expensive acquisition but apes are very hard to come by, since there are only 24 of them.
#1 is valuable to me for obvious reasons. Unfortunately there’s a CryptoPunk #0 so I don’t own the first one, but he is the first male CryptoPunk, and obviously a very low number. Coming from the world of CryptoKitties where low-numbered cats are more valuable just for that reason, it seemed obvious to me that CryptoPunk #1 was highly collectible, so I snatched it up when I saw it was for sale.
We might know the answer, but is there any other Punk you wish to collect in the future? Are there any character traits you are particularly fond of?
I’d obviously love to own an alien, but no one’s selling. There are only nine aliens in total and they’re in strong hands! As far as traits go, I’ve collected quite a few beanies, because they’re the rarest trait. I’m also a fan of medical masks just because of how relevant they are, given what we’re going through in the world right now. It’s kind of strange that LarvaLabs even included medical masks as a trait for punks, but they obviously saw the future.
Any tips you wish to give new NFT collectors? Anything that worries you in the NFT realms and you'd advise people to be careful with?
If you’re a new collector, take your time to learn about a project before you make an investment. You’ll save a lot of money if you get to know other collectors and deal with them privately. The prices you see on the market are often highly exaggerated; think of NFTs like art - it’s not a fast moving market like a cryptocurrency market.
Thanks for the precious advices! Any other projects you are particularly fond of right now?
Most of my attention outside of CryptoPunks has been on CryptoKitties, metaverses (CryptoVoxels and Decentraland), and CryptoStamps. I also own a complete collection of Autoglyphs, which is on-chain generative art that was created by LarvaLabs, the same team that created CryptoPunks. There are so many other interesting projects out there, but I’ve only got so much time (and money)! I also have some digital art, from various artists like Josie (one of the originals), and JoyWorld.